One of the maxims I keep hearing is: attitude is a choice. Is it? Is it as simple as a hard-nosed decision? Can you sternly scold yourself into adopting a good attitude?
Can you have a good attitude if you only slept two hours the previous night?
Can you have a good attitude when you are sick?
Can you have a good attitude if ten things go wrong one day and you come home to your kids screaming for one straight hour?
Can you be a 10-year-old who has experienced rejection for the first time from a group of friends and simply snap out of being sad?
Some can. If you have mental and emotional tools to do so. But if your only tool is to internally yell at yourself to get over it, most will not be able to change their attitude that way.
Some think attitudes can be changed with a flip of a switch, just like you walk into a room and turn on a light. Imagine if the switch is not connected to wires, which connect to an electric grid, which connect to a power company. Nothing will happen to that light bulb when the switch is flipped.
Attitude is how we think and feel about a life situation. How we think and feel is impacted by many factors, most of which are life-long influencers and deeply embedded within us:
1.Our biology (the personality we are born with, our health, and sleep status)
2.Our spiritual acumen
3.Our beliefs and principles we have adopted about life
4.Our emotional resilience
The people with the best attitudes are those who have worked on themselves to embed solid life principles and habits that inform them how to process life. Taking good care of your body, managing stress, and nurturing the Spirit of God in you—these habits are like wiring your house with electric wires, connecting to the power grid and being managed by the power company. These are the elements that make that flip of a switch work when you need it.
Can you choose your attitude? Yes, if you have stacked your mind with beliefs, principles, and thought habits that allow you to process life’s stressors and noxious input. Otherwise, at best your ‘good attitude’ will be fake and short-lived.
You may say, but Wes, you don’t know my circumstances. I don’t, but let me share this with you. Some people face death in battle without issues. Nelson Mandella was wrongly imprisoned for 27 years and came out with a good attitude. Attitude can prepare you to face anything.
What’s the lesson for us as leaders? If there is someone in your circle who often has a bad attitude (sad, hopeless, self-seeking, selfish, gloomy, resentful, discouraged, cynical, flaky, frustrated, irritated, mad, uncertain, afraid, etc), think about doing more than simply telling them to ‘snap out of it.’
Start working to help them grow.
With that, I bid you a beautiful attitude today!